Sad send-off for boys

These children were among the hundreds who came to show their respect at a candlelight vigil for two nine-year-old boys who died in a quad bike accident.

The Hanover Park and Pinati Estate communities came together in their hundreds to lend support to the families who tragically lost their two nine-year-old boys in a quad bike accident (“Boys die in quad bike accident”, Athlone News,August).

About 400 people braved the cold conditions and gathered in Lynburg Road on Wednesday August 8, for a candlelight vigil in memory of Abdud-Dayyaan Roode and Qiyaam Stemmet. The boys died of head injuries after they lost control of the quad bike and crashed into a wall in Lynburg Road, Pinati Estate, on Saturday August 4.

Among those who shared a message of support, was Ward 48 councillor, Magedien Davids.

“I know it’s painful and it will take time to heal. We cannot bring them back, and I pray that they get a high place in Jannah (heaven). Let us open our eyes, and look after our children. Your child is my child. Let us not blame one another for this tragedy,” Mr Davids said.

His colleague, Aslam Cassiem, Ward 46 councillor, said the one thing he admired about the community, was that they supported one another in times of tragedy.

“Only God knows why their lives had to be cut short. Let their deaths not be in vain. Let this make us conscious of our youth again. Let their memory live on forever, by doing something positive in our community in honour of them.

“Adults must stop this thing of not talking to each other for months because their children had a fight,” Mr Cassiem said.

Head of visible policing at Philippi police station, Colonel Dawood Laing, said this tragic incident should be an “eye opener” to parents.

“We must push our children in the right direction. Parents, know what your children
are doing and know where they are. Sometimes uncles and aunts use drugs in front of children, and abuse happens in front of children. Belonging to a gang is wrong. We have seen so many young ones die.

“As parents, we must make sure our children make something of their lives,” Colonel Laing said.

Pastor Craven Engel said he has witnessed many sad scenes through his gang intervention work, but what he saw after the boys’ deaths, was “the most heartbroken”.

“I cannot imagine the pain the families are going through. We do not always have the words to say, but we want to assure you we are here to support you. The strength of the community is in unity. The one thing that scares a high-risk individual, is unity. Tonight we are not here to ask questions, but to offer our support,” Mr Engel told the crowd.

Emraan Roode, the father of Abdud-Dayyaan,thanked the community on behalf of his family.

“This shows me they were so special. Abdud-Dayyaan was so jolly, but he was also a little terrorist – always catching on nonsense. Qiyaam was a sweet little boy – he looked so innocent, but if you turn your back – just like Abdud-Dayyaan. The two of them were inseparable. Qiyaam’s father and I are also friends. I hope that this will make our bond as friends stronger. My heart is bleeding to see the little ones here holding candles and our children cannot be here. You gathering here means a lot to us,” Mr Roode said.

Mansoor Stemmet, Qiyaam’s father, described his son as a vibrant, lively boy.

“He was always running, never walking. He spent every weekend with me, and I will miss his Saturday morning wake-up calls to ask me when I will be fetching him,” Mr Stemmet said.

Meanwhile, police are investigating a case of culpable homicide. According to Colonel Liang, no children under the age of 16 are allowed to drive a quad bike, and it may not be used on a public road.